The Necessity of Inclusivity in the Classroom — And How to Facilitate It!

Jul 15, 2020 by

Inclusivity in education seeks to value and educate all children equally within a school environment. While a lack of inclusion can unfortunately feel like the norm in education, that circumstance is often felt the hardest among students and families of differing abilities and marginalized identities. Inclusivity in education often refers to the practice of educating students of all abilities together, but it can also involve the inclusion of a variety of identities.

Creating an inclusive classroom offers benefits for all of the students involved, helping everyone access the education they need on an individual level. Everyone is different, and building an inclusive classroom can help students understand their peers — and therefore understand the world at large — on a much deeper level. There are so many reasons to incorporate inclusivity into your classroom, and there are so many ways to do it.

1. Inclusivity Tailors Learning to Each Student

Each child has different learning needs. Whether a student has differing abilities or simply struggles in one subject or another, kids often need a more personalized approach to education. Students move at their own pace, and offering accommodations for kids who need them will help the whole classroom thrive and succeed both socially and academically.

Every student has a right to access education that works for them. And working to provide that contributes not only to a more harmonious school environment, but to a better overall society.

2. It Increases Understanding and Compassion

Even when children function and thrive in a traditional classroom environment and see themselves represented in materials and ideas being explored, encouraging kids to participate in the inclusion of their peers teaches them compassion and care for those around them. Kids grow up to become members of society, and if you want to create a world where people respect one another’s needs and believe in equality, it’s important to teach children to put those ideologies into practice.

Inclusive education doesn’t ignore differences — it instead encourages kids to embrace and work with those differences because everyone is unique, and that is okay.

3. It Provides Support for Those Who Need It

Of course, inclusive education is the biggest game changer for the kids and families who need support from the education system. Specifically when it comes to children with different ability levels, inclusive education can provide meaningful peer interaction while maintaining practices that help them learn at their best. 

Contrary to popular belief, this does not slow down the pacing of more advanced kids or those working at grade level, because education is a spectrum. Often, these measures result in students being able to work at their own pace and adjust more comfortably to various curriculum.

How Do I Make My Classroom Inclusive?

There are a few things to keep in mind when creating an inclusive school environment. While every classroom is different, there are measures you can take to actively cultivate an inclusive environment. 

1. Encourage Meaningful Social Interaction

While a school is a place for learning, socialization and play is an important part of development and growth for kids. You can even incorporate play-based learning, which encourages kids to learn and explore through playing and having fun. This form of play and exploration allows kids to work together and socialize constructively, which promotes teamwork and inclusion.

Engaging in play and socialization is healthy for all kids in an inclusive classroom. You can even try mixing up group projects and facilitating discussion based lessons so kids can interact while they learn.

2. Use Materials That Foster Representation

Bringing diverse readings, lessons and history into your classroom is a great way to promote inclusion of all people from different walks of life. The material taught should represent the kids who are learning that material, so they can see themselves and understand the broader scope of the world as including them. It’s also important to educate kids on ideas and curriculum that goes beyond their own identities and experiences to broaden their understanding even further.

Looking into diverse reading materials and other texts can help you bring inclusion into your academics as well as your classroom structures and policies. 

3. Understand Differing Learning Styles

Most kids learn in one of three ways — auditory, visual or kinesthetic. They can also utilize a combination of these learning styles. Children often respond best to certain specific education techniques. When it comes to kids with differing abilities, utilizing techniques that work in conjunction with their learning styles can provide vast benefits. 

This doesn’t mean you should tailor your classroom to one specific child. Instead, you can explore different options, perhaps evaluating each child and dividing them into groups where they can practice the kind of learning that helps them grow the best.

Every child is different, with their own unique needs and experiences. Creating a more inclusive classroom environment can help provide support for those who need it while encouraging empathy and compassion in every student. With inclusivity, it’s a win-win for the whole classroom.

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